When it comes to making the best of a bad situation, entrepreneur Marion Luna Brem wrote the book-literally
As a woman and entrepreneur one need only know the broad contours of Marion Luna Brems remarkable life story to understand that her's is no garden variety tale of success born of adversity.
A cancer survivor who at one point was told she had no more than five years to live, Ms. Brem went on to overcome her illness, and a handful of associated travails, en route to becoming a standout entrepreneur, author, and public speaker. Today her business interests include two thriving car dealerships, an ad agency, a real estate holding company, and a substantial stake in Texas State Bank.
To become familiar with the details of her story, however, is to appreciate how truly extraordinary her success is. And theyve retained the ability to astonish, despite countless retellings in the media and by Ms. Brem herself.
It may sound strange, but I wouldnt change anything. I wouldnt want to have had a healthy body, because everything I went through gave me courage, says Ms. Brem, now 52 and cancer-free. And courage is the reasonI am what I am today.
In some ways, Ms. Brem seems to have been preparing to make a name for herself since her early years. Born the oldest of five children in Albuquerque, New Mexico, she was just 6 when her parents divorced. Over the next two years, while living with her grandparents, she mastered Spanish. My grandfather told me that if I learned to speak two languages I would be as important as two people. So that was when I became bilingual, says Ms. Brem.
Making the best of a bad situation
Making it comes to making the best of a bad situation, Marion Luna Brem wrote the book-literally. At age 8, her mother remarried, and soon thereafter the newly reconstituted family undertook the first of what would be a succession of relocations for her stepfathers telecommunications tower construction business. By the time she graduated from high school, Ms. Brem had attended classes in 12 school districts in four states.
I became accustomed to being the new girl. I remember pleading with my parents, Cant we stay here at least until the end of the school year. But Ive come to realize that those experiences shaped me so that I embrace change. And change has been a constant in my life, she says.
Seeking independence and a degree of stability in her home life, she married her high school sweetheart at age 17. He was serving in the Army, and the couple soon moved from Las Cruces, New Mexico, to Fort Hood, Texas.
They had a pair of sons together and she enjoyed life as a homemaker. Even so, in her late 20s she decided to resume her education. A former straight-A student who had excelled in science and math, Ms. Brem was awarded back-to-back scholarships. The first enabled her to attend community college in El Paso, where the family had moved following her husbands discharge. The secondfrom Texas Instruments took her to the University of Texas at Arlington, where she studied computer science.
By age 29, Ms. Brem was a full-time mother, wife, and college student. She also worked part-time as a switchboard operator at a Dallas car dealership during the evening. That year she sought treatment for a lump in her left breast and was told on separate occasions that it was benign. One doctor attributed the abnormality to excessive caffeine intakeMs. Brem was at this point drinking coffee by the potful to keep up with her studiesand another theorized that it was the result of a hormonal imbalance.
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